Book Review: Getaways Far, Far Away
Summer reading recommendations that will take you out of this world
Reviewed by Rosalind Faires, Fri., June 17, 2016
Okay, so you've met this ragtag group before: the hothead bruiser, the daredevil pilot, the cool customer, the worrywart, the guy who's just there to pick up a check, the prodigy, and the charismatic bandleader who keeps everyone united with wry grins and sheer force of will. They're sporting different outfits each new time you see them – tunics and longswords or cowboy boots and Colts or fresh-pressed suits and a plan for a heist – but any old way they're dressed, you recognize them. Any old way, you love them.
In Dark Run, this familiar bunch is dashing across the galaxy in a ship called the Keiko. In a kind of comfortingly pragmatic version of the future in which the biggest tech advancements are related to body modification (both as decoration and as necessary prosthesis) and star systems are controlled by colonialist pseudo-corporations run by various continents on Earth, Gabriel Drake's crew is willing to take on sketchy employment if the paycheck is big enough. But when the titular "dark run" – an under-the-table smuggling mission – ends up having hidden complications, the team has to track down their employer before they become fall guys.
Likening the book to Firefly is inevitable, what with its droll good-guys-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-law space opera, but Dark Run doesn't suffer under the comparison; it peacefully coexists. On the whole, it's a book that seems to understand its placement in genre but it revels in associated traditions (every chapter ends with a little cliff-hanger!) and elevates itself with pervasive but un-self-congratulatory diversity. The future, it turns out, is Hispanic and disabled and black and female and Maori and Muslim. What a difference it makes to know that everyone is allowed to daydream and see themselves shooting through the stars, getting in trouble and looking good doing it.
Dark Runby Mike Brooks
Saga Press, 339 pp., $15.99